(Photo by Denise Tolentino)
Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. As I follow the teacher’s voice, there’s a sense of calmness as I become more aware of my breathing. What started out as mere curiosity has now become weekly practice. After attending a few yoga classes, I came to realize why so many people have come into this body and mind-altering exercise. At first, your body and mind go crazy due to lack of coordination, but as you begin to flow with your breathing, the mind quickly follows and focuses. It’s a difficult process, but one that is worth the back bending.
This Indian philosophy is all the rage now in Manila. Everyone’s exercise of choice is none other than yoga because of its simplicity. All you need is a yoga mat and focus. The workout has numerous health benefits. It literally and psychologically ‘opens up’ parts of your body and mind as you begin to get the rhythm of your breath.
There are many types of yoga, there are the traditional ones like Sivananda and Vinyasa Ashtanga and some modified modern versions like Iyengar and Bikram.
Everyone of all shapes and sizes can do yoga. That’s the great thing about yoga, it doesn’t limit its practice to a few but extends out to many people. In Manila, there are already a number of yoga studios with certified teachers in key places such as: Yoga Manila with Ashtanga, gentle yoga and kid’s yoga in Makati City, Alabang and Ortigas; Pulse Yoga offers pilates, power yoga, and Ashtanga classes in Makati City and Greenhills; Bikram Yoga Manila in Makati City and Quezon City is Hatha yoga practiced in a heated room; Yoga in Manila offers Ashtanga and meditation classes in Quezon City; Iyengar Yoga Manila is the Guru BKS Iyengar’s approach to Hatha yoga in Makati City.
It’s not just confined in studios, you can do yoga on the beach. Recently, Boracay has started holding yoga sessions on the beach, like the Women’s Health Magazine yoga launch last May of 2009. And a group of three yogis called True Yoga started holding classes near the beachfront of Boracay. Last May, thirteen yoga practitioners all over the Philippines gathered in Boracay for the Ashtanga Teacher’s Training Course with San Franciscan teacher, Clayton Horton. It’s an intensive one month session of learning more about their yoga practice and how to teach it to others. For more details and updates on the next teacher training course in case you’re in the country, visit their site here. If you’re on Facebook, visit their page for details.
As yoga enthusiasts get into it, fashion becomes key. They never forget their stylish yoga bags, tops, and bottoms. Although comfort is still the number one factor in choosing yoga wear. That’s why Stella McCartney’s Gym Yoga collection is flying off the racks in all Adidas outlets.
(via stylemaven: McCartney’s Gym Yoga collection)
Other brands like Puma and Nike are also favorites. Local online brands such as TheBeachBaby, created by a yoga teacher, have beachwear that is used for yoga as well.
Yoga mats are also available in all leading sports shops. Environmentally friendly mats made from bamboo fibers are also becoming popular item. With all these new trends, yoga is fast growing into a household lifestyle (even featured on Nintendo’s Wii Fit).